I vividly remember programming the above output back in second grade. I have always considered myself very lucky that I have been supported by teachers and mentors in the technical realm. My early career interests (radio and tv production and network administration/engineering) were (and still are) male dominated fields. While I never felt intimidated or discriminated against in my situations, the majority of my mentors were male. Now that I am in the educational technology realm, I still experience a lack of diversity (in gender, race and age) and do my best to support other women in technology. I am thankful for friends like Betsy Weber and Carla McWherter who were instrumental in establishing Michigan Girl Geek dinners. Additionally, Keri-Lee Beasley has started to curate a twitter list of women in ed-tech. Continually vocalizing our achievements and supporting each other at events like the Grace Hopper celebration and providing young women with technical experiences (like the ones I had in elementary school) are an important part of our social responsibility. If you’re at a loss, ask for help – I’m here and know others ready and willing to help implement similar projects in your schools – LEGO Robotics, Scratch programming clubs, DIY tech days are all simple ways to engage young women in tech experiences that can have a profound impact on their future careers.
If you’re in charge of a technical conference or group, I urge you to keep a conscious eye on the makeup of your participants. Two EXCELLENT examples that (in my opinion) represent a comprehensive group of voices is the 2011 line up of distinguished speakers for South by Southwest EDU and the 2011 MacArthur Fellows.
I am proud to picture myself in computing everyday and I urge you to share your stories and pictures. Here’s how you can participate in #picmecomp – http://www.picturemeincomputing.org/index.php?q=participate